Football

Manchester United star injured on international duty

sabitzer celebrating

Manchester United have been dealt with a fresh injury blow after midfielder, Marcel Sabitzer, suffered a knee injury while away on international duty with Austria. The midfielder was brought in from Bayern Munich on a loan deal in January to help Erik Ten Hag cope with other midfield injuries.

Sabitzer had enjoyed a fantastic performance for his country last Friday as he scored two goals in Austria’s 4-1 win over  Azerbaijan. The match was the first game of their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign and with another qualifier against Estonia tonight, manager Ralph Rangnick will be hoping that Sabitzer will be fit enough to play a part.

For Manchester United boss, Erik Ten Hag, he will be hoping that Rangnick is careful with the ex-Bayern Munich man with a hectic club schedule set to re-commence on Sunday. Rangnick, who had a brief spell as the interim boss at Old Trafford last season, has spoken glowingly about Sabitzer in recent days. Speaking after the win over Azerbaijan, he said:

“Sabi’s performance was outstanding. You can’t say it any other way. He is simply a player with a lot of quality. I think the change did him good. He is literally flourishing, which is very, very good. He has a lot more confidence than when he was at Bayern Munich.”

A midfield injury crisis at Old Trafford

Confirming Sabitzer’s injury, Rangnick said that he was “optimistic” that the issue wasn’t serious and that he was waiting to hear back about whether the 29-year-old felt ready to play on Monday night or not. He added that Sabitzer had missed all training sessions since the 4-1 victory on Friday.

If Sabitzer is seriously injured then Erik Ten Hag’s midfield options will once again be rather sparse. With Casemiro suspended for three more domestic matches, he only currently has Fred and Scott Mctominay available and full fit for election in the middle of the park.

Donny van de Beek suffered a season-ending injury against Bournemouth at the start of January while Christian Eriksen has only just returned to training after suffering an ankle injury against Reading in the FA Cup on the 3rd of February. If Sabitzer is ruled out of action this weekend then he may have to rush Eriksen back into the starting lineup sooner than planned.

Alternatively, he may consider bringing Victor Lindelof or Lisandro Martinez into midfield or moving Bruno Fernandes into a deeper role. All three players have played a deep midfield role at times this season although the situation is far from ideal with huge games on the horizon.

A never-ending busy period for United

Getting players back fit and available for selection is going to be paramount for Ten Hag as his team approaches the final straight of what has been a hectic season. Since Christmas, his side have played three times a week on a regular basis and have looked leggy as a result in recent week.

United travel to Newcastle on Sunday afternoon for a huge match in the race for the top four and have a Europa League quarter-final tie with Sevilla and an FA Cup semi-final with Brighton to look forward to later on in the month.